Dempo Sports Club claimed their 16th Goa Professional League title after a 2-1 win against Sesa Football Academy in the GFA’s Super League match played at Duler Stadium in Mapusa on Sunday. This was the Golden Eagles’ first Goa Pro League title in last 11 years; their last triumph in the state’s premier football league happened in 2011.
Elated at his team’s title triumph, Dempo SC president Shrinivas Dempo praised the players and the coach on their achievement. “I am very happy and proud that Dempo SC has won the Goa Pro League after some years. This is all due to the efforts of our players, support staff and especially our chief coach Samir Naik,” Dempo said, adding that “it is satisfying that we had six players from our academy in the team this season”.
Head coach Samir Naik also praised the players and credited his team for the victory in the league. “We have some amazing players; Klusner today scored an outstanding goal. I am very proud of the way they played throughout the tournament despite all odds,” Samir said. The gaffer also hinted that Dempo SC aspires to play in the I-League and the ISL. “We are happy that we have won the league but our aim is to win I-League and the ISL and we will do it in the coming years,” he said. “Dempo is a big club and I have some really big shoes to fill. We are always trying to be on the top. Not only me but the management, the coaching staff and the players here are giving their best in every game they play,” he added.
Earlier, leaders Dempo SC – having a five-point lead at the top and with one more game in hand – entered the pitch with a sole aim of winning the match and the league. Samir chose a strong line-up with the likes of Klusner Pereira, Desmon Pereira and skipper Shallum Pires who led the lines for his side. Sesa FA applied constant pressure on Dempo SC but they did not budge and instead showcased a brilliant display of football as they won a free-kick just a few yards away from the centre. Ambitious Klusner stepped up and drilled the free-kick past the Sesa custodian leaving the packed Duler stadium in awe.
Dempo then defended well even as the Sesa side tried to make inroads. A build-up move from Sesa saw their ball cut off by the Dempo midfielder and pass it to Aman. The striker made no mistake as he buried the ball into the nets doubling the lead for his side. Advancing into the game, Necio had a chance when he found himself one-on-one against the Sesa goalkeeper. The striker shot past picking the right angle, but to his misfortune the ball hit the post.
However, the sixteenth Goa Pro League title didn’t come easy for the Golden Eagles, as Sesa tried to hold the game and even succeeded in pulling a goal back in the injury time. Mahammed Faheez headed a cross off substitute Aman Rajbar which hit the post before rolling into the goal.